Microsoft has this week released Privacy Management for the Microsoft 365 service. Specifically, the company is moving the tool from preview to general availability. Starting Tuesday, organizations who use Microsoft 365 can automate privacy processes to more efficiently comply with regulations.

In the past businesses have had to handle their own privacy processes manually when using Microsoft 365 apps and platforms. For example, tracking data that could impact privacy of users is something organizations can struggle with.

Microsoft points to a 2020 study by IAPP-FTI Consulting that shows 53 percent of organizations manage subject requests manually. 42 percent have already moved to a semi-automatic system, while just 2 percent are handling responses entirely by automation.

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Privacy Management is a solution that aims to change this and bring more businesses into automated privacy processing. Microsoft says the service works in SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Exchange Online.

However, the feature is only available to companies on the E5 licensing plan for M365, which is the top tier license.

Functionality

To achieve accurate automation, Microsoft taps into artificial intelligence models that can quickly assess risks posed to user privacy:

“Privacy Management automatically and continuously discovers personal data in customers’ Microsoft 365 environments by leveraging data classification and user mapping intelligence. Organizations can see an aggregated view of their privacy posture, including the volume, category, location, and movement of personal data in their Microsoft 365 environments. Additionally, they get visibility into the current status and trends of the associated privacy risks arising from personal data being overshared, transferred, or unused.”

Essentially, Privacy Management in Microsoft 365 works across three privacy processes. Firstly, it can sport potential risks when personal data is stored by an organization. Secondly, it allows organizations to automate responses to subject requests. Thirdly, the platform provides employee education towards improved handling of private data.

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